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Society

Protesting Teachers Break into Greek State TV, Disrupt News Broadcast

January 13, 2019

ATHENS – A group of substitute teachers who have been protesting to back their demands for permanent, lifetime jobs barged into the state-run ERT TV the night of Jan. 12 during a main news bulletin that was quickly halted.

The news was showing a report on domestic politics when a loud banging, coming offstage, was heard. The newscaster suddenly announced, mid-report, that the bulletin was being interrupted for advertisements. Then, the (pre-recorded) weather bulletin was transmitted, and more ads. A canned “what happened on this day” film was televised, said Kathimerini.

A low-resolution video on twitter showed a group of people entering the studio chanting “people, don’t keep your heads down, the only way is resistance and struggle,” before the news bulletin resumed.

On Jan. 11, the teachers gathered outside Parliament and briefly clashed with police, who fired tear gas in response and a protester was shown trampling on and kicking a wreath that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had laid earlier on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, outside Parliament.

Greek Public Order Minister Olga Gerovassili, from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that while out of power had protested police being used against protesters, said they were too aggressive against the teacher demonstrators.

Gerovassili, a radiologist with no training or experience in public order,  said some riot police had behaved in an “unacceptable and politically dangerous” manner, accusing them of indiscriminately attacking the protesters. About 1,500 people took part in the demonstration.

The government has promised to hire 15,000 new state school teachers in the next three years but teachers’ unions said that it’s too little, too late.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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